Claudia Osmond ~ Reader, Writer, and Ruminator


In blogging, writing on January 18, 2021 at 11:59 am

Hi everyone!

Just wanted to give a quick update:

I’ve merged my author website and this blog, and they will both now live here:

Hope you’ll come over to check it out. And subscribe!

Here’s to new beginnings — and to 2021 bringing good things

Best, Claudia


A Word About Strength

In a peek inside my head, ruminating on April 14, 2017 at 10:46 am

These are two of my favourite quotes:


and1435760421-heres to strong women

Strength. Who doesn’t love the idea of being strong?

It’s just … how do we get there?

Luckily for you I googled it.

How to get strong …

So … what do you want to know about: Strong arms? Strong abs? Strong legs? Glutes? Pecs? Biceps? Or how about hair and fingernails? Bones? Teeth and gums? Social media connections? There’s lots of info on those, too.

A quick search of “how to get strong,” yields pages and pages of ways to strengthen your physical body; tons of ways to get ripped, shredded, sexy, and toned. All interspersed with tips on how to build your social media influence, avoid hair splits and nail breakage, and how to keep your bones solid, your gums pink, and your teeth rooted inside your head.

How to get strong …

Scrolling … scrolling … scrolling …

Ah! Page six. Here’s something different: How to get strong Pokemon!

Scrolling … scrolling … scrolling …

Ooooo … Page eight, onwards – now we’re forging into new territory: Steroid alternatives, wi-fi and cell phone signals, magnets, brews from your K-cup, marijuana roots, adhesives, sperm, and eyebrows like Rihanna. You can even get strong on E-Bay!*

Hmmmm … not exactly sure that search answered my question. Not sure those results are what my two favourite quotes are talking about.

So, what is it about those quotes anyway? Why are they so appealing to me? Why do I want to be like those women? What do they have that I don’t?

Maybe I’m asking the wrong question. Maybe the question isn’t “How do we get strong,” maybe the real question is, “Why do we think we aren’t?”

After my blog post last week a friend that I’ve known since college messaged me and told me she’s in the arena, too. One of her comments during our conversation was: “I thought I was way stronger than that!”

Don’t we all? Don’t we all think we are – or at least hope we are – “stronger than that?”

But stronger than what, exactly? What have we all been measuring our strength against? The condition of our abs? Rihanna’s eyebrows?

Or do we think strength is

having clout? The upper hand? The loudest voice, the wittiest comebacks, the most cutting remarks?

Or do we think it’s maintaining a packed schedule? Having our hand in as many committees, social clubs, teams, groups, opportunities as possible?

Or is it the ability to prove ourselves? To be independent, self-sufficient, not put up with any BS?

Or is it quite simply what google tells us: That if you strengthen your physical body all will be as it should be? Everything else will magically fall into place?

No matter which definition of strength we hold to, it’s no wonder we often feel we can’t measure up. It’s no wonder we think we aren’t strong. That we feel we need to be strong. Maybe it’s the tears that betray us. Or the need to take a break. Or not having an equally witty or cutting comeback. Or needing help. Or needing space. Or maybe it’s just feeling like we’re being swallowed alive by our own humanity.

Humanity. That’s the culprit! Our humanness! That’s what kicks in and gets in the way of us being strong! Our tendencies to think, feel, and respond are what trip us up. Especially those stupid feelings. Feelings make us weak. If only we didn’t have them. If only we could shut them off – then we’d be unstoppable.

But what if …

What if we were unstoppable? What if we could shut our feelings off? Would we be strong then? I’m not sure. But I am pretty sure we’d stop being human.

We don’t operate primarily on instinct, like animals do. We aren’t controlled by programming like technology is. We don’t even fall in with the hard-drawn laws of physics (and whatever other laws there are) like the rest of the universe does. We’re human and therefore we function at a very different capacity. A capacity that encompasses not only the ability to feel and think and respond, but also to develop character. Integrity. Self-control. Perseverance. Spirit. Grit. Tenacity. Confidence. Chutzpah!

(Or you may prefer to call it Inner Strength)

Aha! Something my google search on “how to get strong” didn’t find.

So how is this Inner Strength achieved? By feeling. By thinking. By enduring hardship and times of weakness. The very things we think betray us and take away our strength are what actually make us strong. Another two-sided coin, like darkness and light; another unsplittable part of our existence and growth as human beings. You can’t have light without darkness; you can’t have strength without weakness. Darkness makes the light possible; weakness makes strength possible. Strength achieved by any other means is a counterfeit. It’s hot air. It’s shallow and pompous and false. It’s self-seeking. Devoid of feeling. And it does more harm than good.

On this, Good Friday, I’m reminded of Jesus. Standing before Pilate, when accused, he said nothing. He was mocked, and remained silent. He walked the Green Mile as he walked his life: Humbly. Graciously. Assuredly. He didn’t try to prove himself. He didn’t incite violence or demand respect. He embodied Inner Strength. He taught us how to be human. How to feel deeply. He led this quiet, peaceful revolution that resulted in his death. But it was one that turned the world upside down. One that makes the darkness light. One that makes the weak strong. One that makes the dead alive.

As I write these words, I don’t feel particularly strong. Not in the popular understanding of the word, anyhow. But I live in an upside down world where the weak are strong and the dead have life. No googling required.


*I wonder if different countries yield different results. How many pages does it take before the focus blurs from the physical realm in other parts of the world?

Respect Your Darkness

In a peek inside my head, ruminating on April 12, 2017 at 10:23 am

When my mom was around my age, she said to me, “Life isn’t easy. It’s not meant to be. And the sooner we get used to that idea, the better it will be for us.”

I didn’t understand what she was talking about at the time. I guess I hadn’t been face-down in enough arenas up to that point. Either that, or I hadn’t learned what I was supposed to learn while I was there. But I think I’m learning now. Or at least I think I might be starting to figure some stuff out.

She didn’t say if we get used to the idea, life will be easier for us – she said it will be better for us.


As in (as I’m starting to figure out)

it’s better to be awake to what’s going on.

It’s better to learn about yourself.

It’s better to face things (including what you learn about yourself!)

It’s better to be realistic.

As in,

it’s better to not get everything you want; for things to not always turn out the way you want.

As in,

it’s better to know and respect your darkness.

Life isn’t easy. It’s not meant to be.

That’s how I’m starting to reframe my thoughts. My perspective. My worldview. My prayers.

I pray. A lot, throughout the day, conversationally. And I love the thought of people praying for me, knowing I have people in my corner. Knowing God is interested and invested in what’s going on in my life.


I don’t expect it will fix everything. I don’t believe it should.

Imagine if a parent, each time they were petitioned by their child(ren), gave them everything they wanted. What if that parent protected their child from every single thing, so they’d never feel pain or hurt or disappointment? What if that parent rescued their child from any consequences related to their actions or inactions?

That child’s life would be pretty darn easy, that’s what. But it would grow up to be spoiled. Self-centered. Entitled.

But what if, on the other hand, that parent gave good gifts to their child(ren), but refrained every now and then? What if that parent, instead of protecting their child from every single thing, stood by them through their times of pain or hurt or disappointment? What if, instead of rescuing them, that parent required their child to endure consequences related to their actions and inactions?

That child’s life wouldn’t be terribly easy, to be sure. But it would grow up to be grateful. Considerate. Confident.


Just like a good parent, God doesn’t make things easier for us. But better. Not by removing our trials. Not by erasing our problems. Not by paving a yellow brick road of blessings before us.

Rather, he chooses to grow us. To strengthen us. To teach us. By refraining from giving us what we want from time to time. By standing beside us through our pain and hurt and disappointment. By requiring us to endure consequences of our actions and inactions. He lets us feel what it’s like to struggle, to regret, to long for, to be empty, to be in the dark. So we can recognize the light when it comes. So we can appreciate the light when it comes.

So we can be grateful. Considerate. Confident.

So we’ll have something to remember the next time. Something to refer back to. To hold on to.

So we can earn the right to enter the arena with others. To show up and be seen.

To just be.

I think we’ve been conditioned/culturalized/trained into believing we must avoid our darkness. To run from it. Hide it. Deny it. Try to pray it away. But why? Why do we think life should be easy? Easier? More comfortable? Why don’t we simply accept hardship as … part of life? Why do we assume it’s bad? That it means there’s something wrong? Why don’t we embrace it as part of the big picture of who we are; that it’s an integral, unsplittable part of our existence and growth as human beings?

Why do we think our darkness sucks so much?

Because easier is more appealing than better.

The danger, there, being that when easier doesn’t come, despair most certainly will.

You know what I’ve loved most? Those who’ve messaged and spoken to me to let me know they’re in the arena, too. Or that they have been there. Having people you can question things with, get angry with, cry with, relate with, be silent with, be loud with, be confused with is worth more than all the beautifully-crafted inspirational memes in the universe. Having someone to lock arms and do the hard work of life with can help change perspectives and ward off being overwhelmed by despair. But sometimes reaching out to lock arms with someone is hard, too.

Not everyone will understand where you are – just like I didn’t understand my mom all those years ago. And that’s okay. What matters most is being awake to the difference between easier and better. And choosing which to pursue, wisely.

Respect your darkness. Without it there can be no light.


 Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colours. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed.

            ~ James, from the Bible